Torg at the Movies

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Matthew Surridge
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Torg at the Movies

Postby Matthew Surridge » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:37 pm

I've been absent from these forums the past few weeks because I've been covering the Fantasia International Film Festival for Black Gate. Fantasia's a big genre film festival, and I'm now in the process of writing up reviews on about 60 movies. Seeing that many genre films has, perhaps unsurprisingly, given me some thoughts about Torg and some Torg realities. In particular, given discussions around here about Pan-Pacifica, a whole bunch of the movies I saw were from Japan, China, and Korea, so I've been mulling over what I saw that felt to me like Pan-Pacifica and what I saw that didn't, and why. I've been thinking about the best way to write about this stuff, and I figure I'll go movie-by-movie as I put up reviews at Black Gate. I'll post a brief summary of a movie after the review goes up (no links, as I don't want to spam the boards, but the reviews should be easy to find if you're interested). And along with the summary will be a rating of how relevant it is to a given cosm or cosms, out of 5. 1 means there's something worth thinking about, 5 means you (or at least I) could pick it up and plug it right into the setting. And then I'll try and explain why I'm saying this.

(Let me know if this is too, I don't know, irrelevant or egocentric or something. A lot of this is going to be about movies that haven't come out yet, but which will be hitting some kind of video-on-demand or streaming service release at some point. And ideally this'll generate some discussion about the settings in general. Even better, maybe other people will jump in with movie recommendations of their own. But if this is not helpful at all, I'll delete the topic.)

What I've got so far:

Five Fingers of Death (NE 1/5, PP 1/5)
Classic Shaw Brothers kung fu film, nominally set in the 19th century. There was some talk on these boards a while ago about how well kung fu films can be ported over to the Nile, and you can see that here, I think. Laws of Action, Drama, and Heroism are all represented — lots of fight scenes, lots of pretty basic emotions and righteous fury, lots of one-on-many fights. I'm also throwing in a nod to Pan-Pacifica because of the martial arts content, and the way it shows or implies (as a number of kung fu films do) a whole martial-arts world with its own values of honour, righteous combat, and so on, operating in parallel to society as a whole.

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (Aysle 5/5)
A secondary-world fantasy anime about an immortal elflike girl whose people are destroyed by a militaristic human kingdom; she adopts a human infant as she flees the devastation, and the movie's about her trying to raise the kid over the next couple decades as, in the background, great world-historical events are going on. It's got an epic scope, but has a basically domestic focus until a grand conclusion. The setting's a great example of a high-fantasy world; arguably a bit high-tech for Aysle, but close enough to high-Renaissance for me. The depiction of craftspeople, of agricultural village life, of a haunting sense of loss as history moves on, and especially of what looks like an increase in the Tech axiom over time feels very Ayslish to me. Plus, it's an excellent, excellent movie.

Unity of Heroes (CE 1/5, NE 1/5)
A fairly tepid martial-arts film set in the late 19th century, nominally a sequel to the Once Upon A Time in China films. It's sorta less Nileish than Five Fingers, in terms of the World Laws, although there is some bumbling comic relief I think of as pretty Nile-like. But action-wise I think it's more Core Earth than Nile or Pan-Pacifica, unless you want to argue unrealistic wire-work must belong to one of the latter realms. In terms of atmosphere and character motivation it felt more like a standard action film to me, so I'd say it's CE. But not that noteworthy.

Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana (Maybe Tharkold 1/5? Or -1/5?)
A documentary about an underground comics artist who was put on trial for obscenity in the early 90s. Not really Torg-relevant, but some of his (extremely NSFW and disturbing) comics sort of poses the question of what the limits of Tharkold wrongness are. Like, Diana's work involves a lot of mutilation and a world of dominance and submission, but … not in a playable way. A decent movie, but not really worth watching just for that.

Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura (CE 2/5, Aysle 3/5)
A story about a newlywed couple living in a Japanese city that happens to be a magnet of mystical energy, and which is overrun by spirits of various kinds. Feels very like the Harry Potter films (though much more folklore-oriented), particularly in the mechanics of its plot. It strikes me as CE (and very definitely not Pan-Pacifica) in its basic setting and in the general atmosphere of hope, and Ayslish in the way it presents a sense of age-old magics with gameable rules. Mainly this is a fascinating look at something not unlike an Aysle/CE Mixed Zone.

Aragne: Sign of Vermillion (Orrorsh 1/5, Tharkold 2/5)
A horror anime about a student with secrets in her past who moves into an apartment block with a terrible history. This is mostly interesting in terms of sequences and imagery rather than overall plot, and there's bits that feel like Orrorsh in terms of mystery and there's bits that feel like Tharkold in terms of wrongness and violence.

Cold Skin (Orrorsh 3/5)
WWI-era horror film about two European men on a deserted island engaged in conflict with the natives, who happen to be humanoid fish-creatures. A colonial horror story, perfect for Orrorsh, and with a lot of gunplay that seems to mirror Torg Eternity's approach to the cosm. (Also, a beautiful film.)

L'Inferno (Cyberpapacy 1/5)
1911 adaptation of Dante's Inferno. Not much to say beyond that, you can find it online, but like I say, perhaps relevant for the Cyberpapacy.

The Scythian (Aysle 3/5)
Nominally historical but effectively sword-and-sorcery movie set in medieval Russia about a man whose wife and infant son is kidnapped by a clan of pagan assassins, leading him to go after the assassins with one of said assassins as a guide. An excellent action movie that feels a lot like a low-magic Aysle. The way the characters relate to each other, the look of the thing, the use of little rituals, the sense of exploration, all feel like high fantasy to me.

Neomanila (CE 2/5)
Arguably not a genre piece, though the director thinks it is; it's a neo-noir film set in contemporary Manila, but neorealist as much as noir, with not much feel of a heightened reality to it. What there is seems to me like a Core Earth film, in that there's nothing specific I could point to as either PP or NE (which have similar Tech axioms, and are also at home with noir).

More to come, but I wonder if other people have films that they'd like to suggest with Torg overtones?
Humankind cannot bear very much reality
— T.S. Eliot, who didn't know the half of it

My Torg Eternity review, part one and part two

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Aenno
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Aenno » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:42 pm

Matthew Surridge wrote:More to come, but I wonder if other people have films that they'd like to suggest with Torg overtones?

There is a film I always believe is absolutely Torgish. Crossworlds (1996), with Josh Charles, Stuart Wilson, Andrea Roth and Rutger Hauer.
"You want to know what it is? Ok. It's a cosmic chainsaw, it cuts holes in our reality, tears the boundaries between dimensions. Boundaries are good, we need them, they keep things separate and clear. Now here's the problem, as long as the Crystal is inside the Scepter, these boundaries can melt. Now the guy Ferris wants all of the above because he only wants one reality, one dimension, his. Kapeesh?"
I can't say it's the best film ever, but I have some sentimental love for it.
I argue fiercely, but I never believed disagreement should be capital offence.

I'm editing my posts often. English isn't my native language, and I'm doing a lot of mistakes; that, with thoughtful rereading, I often found and want to edit.

Savioronedge
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Savioronedge » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:52 pm

There are so many movies which are obviously TORG: Indiana Jones... and Mystery Men are obviously NE; Journey to the Center of the Earth(Brandon Fraser) and Journey 2: strike me as exactly CE; Predator I put at a 4/5 for OR on your scale....

I appreciate your reviews as above for new movies. Maybe for the rest of us, we could look for ways known movies fit in non-obvious realms? For instance, The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak is primarily (3/5) NE, somewhat CE (2/5), but there's definitely a little (0.5/5?) TH in there. The Bermuda Depths is a little (2/5) OR with curses, ghost girls, and a corruption style contact, but it also shows the Hope, tenacity, and tech (2/5 CE).

Does any of this help?

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hawaiianbrian
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby hawaiianbrian » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:48 pm

The recent Jumanji movie struck me as very Torgish. Same with last year's Kong: Skull Island.

When writing the upcoming Nile Empire mega-adventure, I found great inspiration in The Rocketeer, Dick Tracy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and two or three others I can't mention because they'd be spoilers. :D

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Matthew Surridge
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Matthew Surridge » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:01 am

Aenno wrote:

There is a film I always believe is absolutely Torgish. Crossworlds (1996), with Josh Charles, Stuart Wilson, Andrea Roth and Rutger Hauer.
"You want to know what it is? Ok. It's a cosmic chainsaw, it cuts holes in our reality, tears the boundaries between dimensions. Boundaries are good, we need them, they keep things separate and clear. Now here's the problem, as long as the Crystal is inside the Scepter, these boundaries can melt. Now the guy Ferris wants all of the above because he only wants one reality, one dimension, his. Kapeesh?"
I can't say it's the best film ever, but I have some sentimental love for it.


This looks really interesting! At some point I might want to rent this …


Saviouronedge wrote:

There are so many movies which are obviously TORG: Indiana Jones... and Mystery Men are obviously NE; Journey to the Center of the Earth(Brandon Fraser) and Journey 2: strike me as exactly CE; Predator I put at a 4/5 for OR on your scale....


Yup, a lot of films map on to the different realms really well. Your last one's interesting to me, though; I'd have thought of Predator as Tharkold, just because of the tech and action elements. (Though as I say that, I realise I've only seen bits and pieces of the first one, and only watched the second all the way through.)


Saviouronedge wrote:

Does any of this help?


Yes! I'm always interested in hearing about films I've missed — there's so much out there it's astonishing. And since Torg is such a cinematic game, films make especially good inspiration, I feel.


hawaiianbrian wrote:

When writing the upcoming Nile Empire mega-adventure, I found great inspiration in The Rocketeer, Dick Tracy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and two or three others I can't mention because they'd be spoilers


I'm really happy to hear that, particularly about Dick Tracy. I've been wanting to rewatch that one for a while — I have really good memories of it, and I suspect I'd actually enjoy it a lot more now.
Humankind cannot bear very much reality
— T.S. Eliot, who didn't know the half of it

My Torg Eternity review, part one and part two

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Aenno
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Aenno » Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:24 am

Matthew Surridge wrote:Yup, a lot of films map on to the different realms really well. Your last one's interesting to me, though; I'd have thought of Predator as Tharkold, just because of the tech and action elements. (Though as I say that, I realise I've only seen bits and pieces of the first one, and only watched the second all the way through.)

Truth to be said I always believed Predator is (one of) staple Core Earth films, 5/5 CE. Same for Terminator.
Orrosh film in a modern decorations would be The Ninth Gate or Angel's Heart, I think.
I argue fiercely, but I never believed disagreement should be capital offence.

I'm editing my posts often. English isn't my native language, and I'm doing a lot of mistakes; that, with thoughtful rereading, I often found and want to edit.

Zackzenobi
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Zackzenobi » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:26 pm

hawaiianbrian wrote:The recent Jumanji movie struck me as very Torgish. Same with last year's Kong: Skull Island.

When writing the upcoming Nile Empire mega-adventure, I found great inspiration in The Rocketeer, Dick Tracy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and two or three others I can't mention because they'd be spoilers. :D


Brian,

Will subbing out the Iron Man Rocket Rsngers for the more Rocketeer kind ruin anything?

Padre
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Padre » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:43 pm

A couple others I usually mention include The Shadow adaptation from the 90s for NE and, of course, the Die Hard and Lethal Weapon franchises are classic 5/5 CE. Bond would probably be 4/5 CE, 1/5 NE. Tomb Raider (Angelina Jolie version) would probably be about 3/5 CE, 2/5 NE.

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hawaiianbrian
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby hawaiianbrian » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:52 am

Zackzenobi wrote:Will subbing out the Iron Man Rocket Rangers for the more Rocketeer kind ruin anything?


I don't think so. They won't have any of the benefits they'd get from armor, but I think you could make it work. That's how I'd prefer them instead, or at least halfway between Cliff Secord and the armored rocket ranger from oTorg.

Savioronedge
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Re: Torg at the Movies

Postby Savioronedge » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:40 pm

Rocky Horror Picture Show 2/5 Tharkold, 1/5 Pan-Pacifica (Obviously Eddie has "Speed Demon")

Aliens is obviously an Orrorsh/Pan-Pacifica mixed zone (3/5 being hunted, not knowing what it is or how to stop it; 1/5 slightly higher tech, trusting the tech over any higher power)

This one may have you question my sanity:
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1/5 Cyberpapicy (witch trial, quest from God, public religious observance) 1/5 Aysle (knights, swords) and 2/5 Living Land (the immortal black Knight, all squad tactics falling apart, holy artifact, being saved from the Beast by what amounts to Devine Intervention)


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